A message from our CEO - Nancy Lindholm
You know that pending state legislation, a proposed regulation or a ballot measure will have a huge impact on your business, either directly because it affects your company/industry, or indirectly because of its impact on the jobs climate and economy. You’d like to let your employees know about your concerns — but can you? The answer is yes — IF you keep in mind and follow some “dos and don’ts” outlined in state law or regulations. Following is a quick overview from the HR specialists at the California Chamber of Commerce, including actions to avoid.
Communicate with your employees, stockholders and their families about the company’s support of or opposition to state legislation, regulations or ballot measures.
Encourage your employees, stockholders and their families to support or oppose state legislation, regulations or ballot measures.
Communicate your political messages to your own employees (and their families) through such means as:
Control or direct the political activities of your employees “through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment.”
Coerce your employees to support or oppose a ballot measure.
Reward or punish employees for their political activities or beliefs (or threaten to do so).
Put any political messages in or on employees’ payroll envelopes. NO PAYCHECK STUFFERS.
A message from our CEO - Nancy Lindholm
The city of Oxnard is stuck between a rock and a hard place, or perhaps more appropriate, stuck between a California regulatory agency and industrial businesses in Oxnard.
The situation is that the city has not updated its wastewater discharge limits in nearly 20 years. The Regional Water Quality Control Board (a state agency) says they have to clean up their wastewater before it is recycled and pumped back into the ground to recharge our aquifers for water storage. Oxnard is building a water recharge facility at the old Oxnard High School campus.
When the Chamber first learned about the impending discharge limits changes, the city was on a fast-track timeline to implement the new restrictions. We negotiated a six-month extension to work with our industrial businesses, which the city got approved from the Regional Board. However, those six months are flying by and we have not seen a lot of outreach to those impacted.
I have personally met with the city and two different businesses with boron discharge challenges. As I understand it, there is no concern discharging boron into the ocean, but only a trace of it can be discharged through recycled water, which is headed for the aquifer for future use. It's a very expensive undertaking to remove boron from water.
The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) new limits in wastewater will be impacting many more businesses in Oxnard. The city's proposed limits (which need to be approved by city council) are listed as, "Site-specific 'baseline' concentration limits for current industrial users; 1,850 mg/L for future industrial users."
We applaud the city for consideration of our existing businesses. The limit of 1,850 mg/L is actually more lenient than our neighboring cities to the east, where the limits are currently around 1,000 mg/L.
I'm also happy to report that we have heard from one large manufacturing business in Oxnard that has determined they will be able to comply with the new discharge limits.
The Oxnard Chamber will continue to work with city and our business community to assure we can respect the environment and assure our businesses can continue to provide jobs for our residents.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the proposed wastewater discharge limits.
A message from our CEO, Nancy Lindholm:
Things are looking pretty nice at the Oxnard Chamber office. After 13 years in our location on Esplanade Drive in the Topa Financial Plaza, we've updated our look with new paint and carpet. While it's been a bit hectic going through the process, the end result will be a welcoming place for members and guests.
Considering we are tucked up on the third floor of a low-rise building in the center, we get an amazing number of visitors every month. Between our committee meetings, the Board of Directors, SCORE counselors, members utilizing our conference rooms, and people inquiring about various services, we log close to 150 visits per month.
We are happy to greet all those visitors with new carpet and fresh paint!
We will also have a new face greeting our visitors. Michael Lee is the new Operations Manager for the Oxnard Chamber. Michael come to us with an extensive background database management, special events management, and excellent customer service skills. Michael is a native of North Dakota and is looking forward to his first California "winter." Please help us welcome Michael when you are in the Chamber office or at an event.
Tom Carrese joined the Chamber team on June 1 and has jumped in with both feet. Tom is our new Business Development Manager. The number of new members we had last month more than doubled from our average prior to his arrival. Not only does Tom recruit new members, but he works with all members on helping them increase their exposure in the community.
I would like to very much thank our veteran team members, Sharen Strong and Janet Pozos, for taking on extra work while we filled our staff openings. Not only did they cover a vacant position, they got to do most of the packing and unpacking for the paint and carpet project! They are the best!!
If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by to see our new look and meet our new team members!
On July 2, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released an analysis showing the state-by-state impact of retaliatory tariffs from China, the European Union, Mexico, and Canada, which have been imposed in response to new U.S. tariffs on imported goods. Raising tariffs will have adverse consequences and fails to consider the impact on our allies and trading partners.
At the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, we are hearing more and more stories of the substantial impacts the tariffs are having on our local businesses.
The analysis was compiled using data on state exports from the U.S. Department of Commerce and data on U.S. exports subject to foreign tariffs from the official government sources of China, the EU, Mexico, and Canada.
Although trade is a nationally determined policy issue, its impact on California is immense. California exports to more than 225 foreign markets.
Raising tariffs can result in higher prices to the consumer for the specific product protected and in limited choices of products for consumers. Further, it can cause a net loss of jobs in related industries, retaliation by U.S. and California trading partners, and violates the spirit of our trade agreements.
The U.S. Chamber analysis found that:
According to a California state government international trade and investment study, “International trade and investment is a major economic engine for the state of California that broadly benefits businesses, communities, consumers and state government… California’s economy is more diversified than ever before, and the state’s prosperity is tied to exports and imports of both goods and services by California-based companies, to exports and imports through California’s transportation gateways, and to inflows and outflows of human and capital resources.”
Trade offers the opportunity to expand the role of California’s exports. In its broadest terms, trade can literally feed the world and raise the living standards of those around us.
The analysis is available online at www.thewrongapproach.com. State-specific fact sheets are available for download, as is the full U.S. data set.
The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce was one of 200 local chambers of commerce from across the United States signing on to a letter supporting Senator Corker's bill that would limit the President's powers to impose or raise tariffs.
Message from our CEO - Nancy Lindholm
A couple of issues have surfaced in the last month or so that have left businesses scrambling to comply with new guidelines, regulations and procedures. Unfortunately, these have been presented with some very unreasonable implementation timeframes.
The first issue was brought to my attention when I received an email from a member (large Oxnard business) asking me who their city councilmember was. That set off an alarm in my mind, so I immediate called and asked what the problem was. It seems the city needs to comply with some new discharge regulations set forth by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. In order for Oxnard to achieve the revised wastewater ocean discharge limits, the water they take in must be less contaminated. Hence, the new local limits on wastewater discharge from industrial users.
I sincerely believe our businesses are willing to comply with the new limits. The problem was that the city notified the users in May and had plans to implement in September. For some of our manufacturers or food processors, that is not much time to retrofit or actually install wastewater treatment equipment.
The Oxnard Chamber leadership met with representatives from the wastewater division of the Public Works Department of the city and they agree to push the implementation back four to six months.
The other issue brought to my attention was the city's Groundwater Replenishment Reuse Project. This, again, involves wastewater and the city's recycled water. What I received was a Notice of Public Hearing, which was set for June 14. The problem here was that the public hearing notice stated that public comments on the project were due no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 21. The Chamber objected to the one week – or five business days – time limit to respond to a very complicated issue. The city responded and changed the deadline for public comments to August 13.
Your business may not have a direct impact from modified wastewater discharge limits, and you may not care about the groundwater replenishment project. However, when an issue comes up that could have a negative impact on your particular industry, please know the Oxnard Chamber is ready to stand with you and help with an implementation timeline issue or a dispute resolution.
We are a catalyst for business growth, a convener of leaders and influencers, and a champion for a stronger community!
Congratulations to Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin on the unanimous vote of support for her legislation to help employers curb sexual harassment cases. AB 2770 passed out of the Assembly with full support of both Democrats and Republicans on May 7. The bill will enable businesses to avoid hiring repeat sexual harassment offenders, ending the cycle of harassment in industries across California.
The bill also protects employees from defamation lawsuits for reporting sexual harassment allegations to employers or official agencies.
Alleged harassers are not only suing victims, but also filing suit against employers for defamation. Such lawsuits put employers in an impossible position as they have an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct harassment.
Worse, if the alleged harasser’s employment is then terminated, or the alleged harasser resigns, employers are put in an even more difficult position. The company has knowledge of the harassing activity and yet its hands are tied.
If the company tells a potential employer that the employee was accused of harassing conduct, the company is on the hook for a defamation claim. If the company stays silent, the harassers are then free to victimize more individuals at their next job without anyone at the new company ever knowing about the unacceptable behavior.
By addressing this situation, AB 2770 will reduce frivolous lawsuits and allow an employer to use the financial resources that would have been diverted to litigation to grow its workforce instead.
AB 2770 will be heard in the Senate before (hopefully!) becoming law.
The bill was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and supported by employer groups and local chambers of commerce throughout the state.
Thank you, Assemblymember Irwin!!
A delegation of business leaders will be headed to Sacramento May 22-24 to voice concerns over pending legislation deemed harmful to the economy and the ability for business to prosper and create jobs.
The Capitol visit will be in conjunction with the members of the Chambers of Commerce Alliance of Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties. The Alliance's Sacramento-based lobbyist will coordinate a series of meetings with our legislators and their staff, as well as key committee chairs.
In addition to the meetings in the Capitol, the California Chamber of Commerce will be delivering a legislative briefing and hosting keynote speakers. CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg will also render remarks.
On Thursday morning the Governor will address the business group, as has been the tradition for more than 100 years. This will be Governor Brown's final appearance at this annual event.
Oxnard Chamber members are invited to join the delegation. Our schedule will be:
The Oxnard Chamber's voice in Sacramento is critical to make sure our elected officials understand the impact of their votes on local businesses.